New York Giants: Early free-agents contracts Gettleman should be pro-active with

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The 2020 NFL season did not go as planned for the New York Giants, but the franchised showed promise. Big Blue managed just a 6-10 record and was one game away from playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wildcard. Giants’ head coach Joe Judge seems to have his team on the right track for the future.

The Giants are a player or two away from being a force in a wide-open NFC East. The first chance the G-Men will be able to build the roster will come on March 17th. New York is projected to have more than $13 million over the salary cap, but the team should have their eye on a few top targets this offseason.

Here are three players the New York Giants should consider signing or re-signing this offseason:

DE Leonard Williams

If there is one player Dave Gettleman needs to re-sign this offseason, it has to be Leonard Williams. Gettleman is so invested in Williams, but that is not the main reason why he deserves a big deal.

Williams deserves an extension for being one of the best players on the Giants last season. Big Will proved to be the game-wrecker the Giants’ defense needed. He appeared in all 16 games for New York, finishing with 57 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 14 tackles for losses. Not only did Williams have a monster season, but he is also a scheme fit for Patrick Graham.

“We love him in the building, he’s a great teammate, he’s fun to coach,” Judge said, per Steve Serby of the New York Post. “He makes your job a lot easier in terms of coming to work and enjoying your job, but then also making plays on the field, ’cause really, players make coaches good or not.”

If the New York Giants re-sign LW, they will probably not have enough money for Dalvin Tomlinson. The Giants have to choose if they want a dominant run stopper in Tomlinson or if they want a premier 3-4 pass rusher in Williams. The Giants should take the pass rusher, no questions asked.

Williams will likely earn in the $18-20 million per-season range. It would be wise of the Giants to get a deal done before the start of free agency.

WR Curtis Samuel

If the New York Giants want to bring the most out of quarterback Daniel Jones, they need to prove the pieces they have around him. Receiver/RB Curtis Samuel could be that sneaky piece the Giants’ offense needs.

Samuel had an impressive 200 rushing yards, 851 receiving yards, and five total touchdowns in the 2020 season. With Samuel’s production, he will not be a budget option. He is projected to make $12.4 million annually, according to Spotrac.

However, Samuel will not command money like Allen Robinson or Kenny Golladay would in free agency. He will be a bit of a cheaper option and way younger. If the Giants are able to add the 24-year old to their roster, the Giants could boost both their rushing and passing game in 2021.

LB Matt Milano

Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham forged an impressive defensive unit in 2020, and with a few additional pieces, it could be championship-caliber. Adding a rangy, run-stuffing linebacker like Matt Milano to pair up with Blake Martinez could take this defense where it wants to go in 2021.

Milano dealt with injuries in 2020, only was limited to 10 games. But in 2019, he was healthy. He played in all but one game in 2019 and produced. He finished with 101 total tackles, nine passes defended, and 1.5 sacks.

Something most people do not know about Milano, he played safety in college. For a linebacker, he has elite pass coverage skills. He could pair up beautifully right next to Martinez.

Signing the 26-year-old could be difficult given New York’s cap situation. He’s projected to have a market value of a little under $14 million annually, according to Spotrac. But if the Giants wanted to sign an elite edge rusher or cornerback this offseason, this option would be a bit cheaper as well.

 

Buffalo Bills: Gabriel Davis, Matt Milano come through for young fan

Two Buffalo Bills came through for young Jackson DeLude, using connections from offseason training to provide the merriest Christmas.

The Buffalo Bills have done great things on the football field this season, some of it stemming from the acts of young talents like receiver Gabriel Davis and linebacker Matt Milano. But it’s an off-field activity, an endeavor made in the sport of the holiday season, that will go down as their most impactful.

Davis and Milano came through big for Buffalo native Jackson DeLude, sending the 8-year-old fan down to their former stomping ground of Orlando, Florida for a Christmas he’ll never forget. With the pair’s assistance, Jackson and his mother Ashley not only enjoyed a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort, but Jackson received a special gift courtesy of Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, an Orlando-based orthotics and prosthetics service connected to the gym where Davis and Milano work out during the offseason. Milano is an Orlando native, while the rookie Davis starred for the local University of Central Florida during his college days.

Jackson has grown up without fully developed legs and has used prosthetics to walk, but needed a special pair to fulfill his lifelong dream of running. Thanks to Davis and Milano, not only was Jackson able to run, but his first fast steps took place at a special locale, the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park on the WDW campus.

Milano explained that he and Davis heard about Jackson’s situation during their offseason training. When given the opportunity to help out, there was no hesitation on their part.

“The place that we worked out at during quarantine back home in Orlando does prosthetic legs, so we kind of had that connection there,” Milano said through Maddy Glab of BuffaloBills.com. “And then somebody said, ‘Hey, would you like to help this kid out, he’s from Buffalo, and fly him down to Orlando to get him his new legs?’ We said, ‘Yeah, why not.’ It was a great opportunity for him and during the holiday season, what’s better than that for his Christmas present.”

It was a bit of a personal case for Davis, who wanted to help the DeLudes in an attempt to pay it forward from his own child. The receive told Glab that growing up, he, his mother Alana, and his two siblings received assistance in times of distress. Davis was all too happy to perfectly define this season of giving.

“There’s always people that need help, and the simplest things in life can make someone’s life so much better,” Davis stated. “You never know what anybody’s going through. If I can be that person that can help them to better days, I definitely want to do it because of the people that did it for me. They made my life so much better. They helped get me to this day today. These people are having bigger struggles than I did, and they’re able to fight through it every single day. I want to be there for them and be able to help the best way I can.”

The ongoing health crisis has delayed an in-person meeting between Jackson and his two new fans, but the Bills shared video of a Zoom called they shared following his visit to Disney World. Jackson thanked the two for their generous gift, declaring his favorite Disney experience to be the Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster inspired by the Toy Story franchise.

“When I get back to school, I can keep up with my friends and participate in stuff,” Jackson, clad in a Bills shirt, said in the video. Davis and Milano sought a face-to-face meeting and promised to get Jackson and Ashley to Orchard Park when fans are allowed back at Bills Stadium.

“When (Davis and Milano) said they were going to help get Jackson blades, there was really no way to describe what we were feeling,” Ashley said in a report from Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN. “That they’re so young and already wanting to be paying it forward and helping out Jackson to be able to run again, it was amazing. Being in Disney for the first time, in his blades, in this magical place together, he’ll never forget it.”

Jackson will no doubt be tuning when the Bills (10-3) return to action on Saturday late afternoon, as they battle the Denver Broncos on the road (4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags